If you filed your last tax return in Panama City, you may want to be on alert tonight. The Bay County sheriff's office says they have busted an identity thief in Panama City, and the information he had stored in his house may affect thousands.
Bay County investigators say it all started with a red flag from Bay County Warden Rick Anglin
"We found out that an individual attempted to open up a credit card using his name and personal information," said investigator Craig Romans with BCSO.
The trail led back to 26 year old Bryan Loyd and his home in Panama City Beach. Inside they found gym equipment, Michael Koors watches, Ray Ban sunglasses, flat screen TV's, and other items apparently bought with fradulent credit cards.
However, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
"[We] located a large number of documents with individuals names and addresses and personal information," investigator Romans said.
Most of that in the form of tax returns, two boxes chock full of them, thousands of files all containing extremely sensitive information.
"Names, social security information, addresses, employer information, pretty much anything that was on the tax return," investigator Romans said.
Investigators also found notebooks where Loyd allegedly kept record of his victims - with social security numbers and a log of his pricey purchases.
"These poor victims are not even aware that perhaps their information has been compromised," said Investigator Paul Vecker.
As for the tax returns, BCSO wont release the name of the tax company because of the ongoing investigation, one that may take a while.
"Right now we believe that it will take us between a month, maybe a month and a half, to go through all the documents, all the paperwork to ascertain how many victims we actually have," Investigator Vecker said.
They urge you not to wait to see if you are a victim. Check your credit score immediately and dispose of sensitive information like credit card applications carefully.
"People are looking, times are hard right now, the economy is difficult," Investigator Vecker said. "We need to have people aware of what's going on around them."
Loyd was booked into the Bay County jail. Investigators are still looking into how Loyd obtained all that info. If you've filed a tax return in the city and you feel you've been compromised, you're urged to call local authorities immediately.